James Asali, CEO of FIMAC
James Asali is a serial entrepreneur. Among his other titles, he is currently the CEO of FIMAC, as well as a family man, a devoted Christian and a philanthropist.
From an early age, with an entrepreneurial attitude, James spent most of his youth looking for ways to improve the lives of others. After finishing school, he immediately entered the world of professional business. Finally, after many years of hard work, he was promoted to CEO of a well-known mortgage company. Unfortunately, in 2008, James suffered a medical emergency that caused him to step down from his day-to-day duties. In his absence, the once successful company suffered huge losses and James faced a possible end to his career. However, instead of succumbing to this recession, James returned to the business world with renewed vigor.
Using his years of experience, James Asali has worked hard to restore a number of businesses, including FIMAC, one of the world’s largest digital marketing and branding companies. By trying and using true methods, he has led the company to great success. Known for his non-nonsense business style and almost legendary ability to multitask, James Asali continues to engage in all the day-to-day activities in each of his companies. Having experience in almost every aspect of a general business, he knows very well the importance of personal accountability and ethical practice. The goal of his long-term career is to be a part of every business transaction across the country.
Through all of this, James has been supported by his wife and five children. In his spare time, he enjoyed coaching baseball and football. He also loves to play golf, and enjoys going to the beach with his family whenever they have time. Currently, James Asali and his family call home in Orange County, California.
What do you currently do in your company?
As CEO and President, I am responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company. From handling staff to acquiring new investments, I keep an eye on what’s going on. I work closely with our CMO on our marketing management. Almost everything will come across my desk for review and approval. Being involved is important to me. It helps to build new business relationships for those companies to know who I am and how much I am involved in building a strong foundation.
What was the inspiration behind your business?
FIMAC was created in 1999 and my inspiration came from the desire to provide a high level of quality advertising and marketing. I saw the real need for an effective and evidence-based organization that could actually deliver results. In my experience, many companies claim that they can deliver, but do not actually deliver. Since I have several years of business experience, I have had the opportunity to be on both sides of marketing. Applying my knowledge was a logical next step for me. I could see the need and I could see what was needed to meet the need. We provide a quality solution like no other.
What defines the way you do business?
I am not afraid of hard work. The culture of our company is that we are willing to put in the extra effort needed to produce results. We have a great environment built on positivity and actively seeking solutions. We do not measure our performance based on how many hours we have left. We focus on results. I compare it to the military that we don’t find excuses for not doing things. We have a chain of command and procedures that are tried and true. We learn what works, and will always make a detailed plan for success. Of course, we are always willing to learn new methods or processes if they prove to be effective. The bottom line is, if we say we’re going to do something, we’ll do it.
What can you share in being productive?
Being organized is one of the key elements of being productive. It is a solid foundation for success. At FIMAC, we have a task management approach that has proven to be extremely effective for us. It enables us to create and fulfill all our set goals. It lets members of each team know what is expected of them and when. Being organized in this way means things are much smoother. Everyone is on the same page and knows where we are in the process of any given endeavor. This allows for better communication between departments. The expectations are clear and it makes everyone more productive.
Say a long-term goal in your career.
The long-term goal is to be able to offer a product or service to every consumer across the country through the aggregate of companies we have. How great would it be if our company was something that could have a hand in every aspect of daily life? Imagine if every consumer did business with us somehow. We want to create a catalog of products and services that make it an option for each of us to go. Success comes from getting what you need at the right time. This sounds like a lofty goal, but I believe it is achievable. We have experience and we have methods. It is a matter of continuous expansion as opportunities arise.
How do you measure success?
Success is much more than financial freedom. So many people focus so much on making enough money to be comfortable, they neglect other important aspects of success. For me, a positive impact on everyone around me is equally important. Providing a service or product that benefits humanity is also a measure of success. My family comes from a social service background. As far as I can remember, I was taught to help other people whenever you could. Seeing how the way I did something helped another person means more to me than just making money. It’s much more fulfilling to make a difference in someone’s life than to cash a paycheck. That perfection carries on in my business as well. The satisfaction of a successful resolution for my clients is that I look forward to more than just getting paid. We make a real difference for companies.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned through your career?
Never take your eyes off the ball. It’s critical that I get involved in every aspect of my company because, in the end, they are my responsibility. It is very important to me that we do something ethical and fair. I want to make sure that what we have promised is fulfilled or exceeded. If something goes wrong, it is my responsibility to correct it. It’s a cascade and it all comes back to me, I like it. My employees and the business we work with need to know that I am the one they can count on. I have in the past dealt with companies that did not have the same approach and as a result lost both business and integrity. I decided long ago that this would not be my legacy. As the president of a company, you have to monitor everything and you have to be accountable.
What advice would you give to others who are aspiring to be successful in your case?
First and foremost, there is a mindset that is willing to handle hard work. Communicate daily with patience and humility. You are not going to know everything right now. Be prepared and willing to learn from others who have gathered relevant experience. Listen to your mentors. Have a peer group that you can consult with, especially about big decisions. Never treat anyone, including your employees, as if they don’t care. They are the cause of your success. There is no such thing as a one-man show in Fortune 500 companies. Be fair, but be disciplined. Stick to the decisions you make and follow them.
What are some of your favorite things outside of work?
I’m a big fan of the outdoors. I like golf. I like fishing. For the past 19 years, I have been coaching youth athletics. I have coached baseball and football. It was about spending time with my kids and something that I really enjoyed. When I have some less time, I like to spend it with my wife and kids. One of my favorite things is going out to sea and taking my kids to the tidal pool to explore. I love watching them discover new things.
How would your colleagues describe you?
I believe my colleagues will describe me as a nice guy, but with a somewhat harsh head. The position I have, it helps to take a more firm attitude. It can come across as annoying, or even sometimes offensive. Many important decisions are made every day, and I have become accustomed to doing them almost emotionally. I have a type A personality, tough and precise. I am a tough negotiator in a no-nonsense manner. It comes from the field and learning how to get points quickly.
How do you balance a difficult work-life?
The only important thing in my life is learning to do these two things. I’m either at work or I’m with my family. It took me a while to learn how to keep the two apart, but it made a huge difference in my overall happiness. When I’m at home, my focus is there. I don’t have much time for myself. I make sure I have time to work every week, which is what I really need. I am careful not to overwork, but this is my only focus when I work.
What is the part of technology that helps you the most in your daily routine?
We have a task management system that has proven to be exceptionally successful for us. Every employee has their work and deadlines. Expectations are always familiar, which makes the process much easier for everyone.
What is one piece of advice that you have never forgotten?
This advice was given to me on a professional level, but it also made a huge difference in my personal life. A few years ago I was told that I was responsible for everything that went on in my life. There are a lot of people, especially in the business world, who like to take responsibility on others. The only person who hurts when they do this is themselves. When you refuse to take responsibility, you learn nothing. You will not become a good person. I’d rather admit a mistake and learn how to do it again than pretend it never happened. What kind of example would that be for my kids? Personal responsibility is required in this case. This is why I like to keep my hands on everything in the company, so that accountability is always with me.
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